BBC America presents the four part series INSIDE MEN. This limited run show tells the story of a robbery, with a concentration on the motivations and actions of three men who work on the inside.
For those who enjoy The Killing, Luther, or other intelligent crime dramas, but worry about the ending being drawn out or left unsolved, fear not. INSIDE MEN is only designed as a four part run, and no more will be made. The length of roughly two feature films, this design allows for a deeper exploration of characters than most movies, but is still short enough to satisfy the very impatient.
As the story begins in September, John (Steven Mackintosh, Luther) is held at gunpoint in the secure money depot he is manager of by a bunch of masked men. John leads the robbers to the loot, with security guard Chris (Ashley Walters, Outcasts) getting shot along the way. It seems like the villains get want they want, and poor John and Chris are left behind with the rest of the staff, most locked in the vault.
But that’s not the entire story. As the first episode progresses, viewers flash back to January. Chris falls for a young woman named Dita (Leila Mimmack, Married Single Other) who swipes a bill from the facility, costing her the job. Chris and Dita begin running a con on another company, but Dita can only manage to keep the job for a little while, not long enough to solve their money problems or ambition.
Meanwhile, a money mover for the company named Marcus (Warren Brown, Luther) owes some people some dough. He helps Chris fence a few articles of clothing, and when that runs dry, comes up with a plan to fleece cash from their employer. It sounds like an achievable feat to Chris, and the two begin their plot.
Also running through the episode are scenes of John after the attack, presumably being moved with his wife (Nicola Walker, MI-5) and daughter to safety. John seems haunted by the events of the crime, and would not like to stick around town, especially considering that the bad guys know where he lives, having held his family hostage as the thievery went down.
I will not spoil the twist ending of the first hour, for those viewers who have not seen it yet. Suffice it to say, John, Chris, and Marcus are connected in many ways, and will soon be learning not only what the others are capable of, but how far they themselves are willing to go. Will the perpetrators be brought to justice? Or will they get away? Is that even important, in the end? INSIDE MEN is a character study piece, with relatable, realistic people in a situation that many have thought about, but few have dared to act on.
INSIDE MEN is intense and gripping. The acting, much of the cast veterans of the gritty British drama scene, are amazing, really selling the parts, but avoiding overacting. The story is interestingly plotted, and though it jumps around in time a bit, is relatively simply to follow. The pacing is good, too, unspooling the mystery slowly enough to dwell on pieces of it, rather than rushing it along, but fast enough to build excitement and tension. In short, INSIDE MEN will probably be another great entry into the genre.
It’s a shame that INSIDE MEN only made four episodes, and does not intend to make more. After only a single hour, there is definitely enough draw to really hook viewers and make them fans. It’s already clear that four installments will not be enough. And yet, it must be respected that the writer wants to tell a complete story. Maybe another cast could be put together for another series, in a kind of anthology?
INSIDE MEN airs Wednesdays at 10 PM ET on BBC America.